Everyone's warning Austinites not to drive in this weather. Here’s what to do if you have to.
The City of Austin and Texas Department of Transportation are urging Texans to avoid driving Wednesday, as freezing rain and ice accumulation are expected to continue through Thursday morning.
The Austin Police Department, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Department and Austin Fire Department responded to more than 300 traffic collisions Tuesday. First responders have also been impacted by the icy roadways, the city said, as several were injured while responding to crashes.
The city said many crashes are preventable and that residents can help first responders by not driving unless absolutely necessary.
If you do have to drive, follow these tips from Austin Public Works, TxDot and AAA:
- Check conditions at DriveTexas.org
- Have an emergency supplies kit in your vehicle that includes blankets, jumper cables, emergency lights and a cellphone charger
- Remove snow and ice from your vehicle
- Maintain your vehicle in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations
- Ensure headlights and tail lights are functioning properly
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread
- Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas at all times
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage
- Drive slowly and turn carefully, planning additional time for travel
- Maintain a greater distance with cars in front of you and don't follow them too closely
- Avoid elevated roads, such as overpasses and bridges
- Approach bridges, shaded spots and turns slowly
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it
- Avoid sudden braking or accelerating to maintain traction
- Build some momentum before approaching a hill and try not to apply extra gas while going up
- Don’t use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface
- Stop all the way at a dark or flashing red traffic signal
- Remain in your vehicle if you are in a collision
- If you are skidding, stop braking and accelerating and don't jerk the steering wheel
⚠️First responders are focused on downed power lines and trees today. Help them manage their call volumes by staying off of the roads.— ATX Transportation (@austinmobility) February 1, 2023
❄️The City has responded to over 300 traffic crashes this week. Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary. pic.twitter.com/nSbIM2t3MO
Please stay off the roads this morning. Icy conditions exist in our area as you can see from the 5:20 a.m. look at https://t.co/Yw36BLEk5P Crews continue de-icing efforts around the clock to keep roadways open for essential workers and emergency responders. #ATXtraffic pic.twitter.com/3ECSoXzkcc— TxDOT Austin (@TxDOTAustin) February 1, 2023
Based on preliminary information, APD has responded to approximately 215 collision calls today. ⁰⁰Please remember to stay indoors if possible. If you must drive, drive slowly and be alert at all times. ⁰⁰Stay safe and stay warm, Austin! ⁰⁰#ATXTraffic⁰#SafetyFirst pic.twitter.com/aZuJGzckEp— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) January 31, 2023